309 NE 76th St., Vancouver, Wash., 360-907-8582, railsidebrewing.com. 3-9 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 3-10 pm Friday-Saturday.
Rail Side Brewing used to be by the train tracks, we're told. But it isn't anymore. Nestled next to a public storage facility, on the backside of a North Vancouver strip mall housing an L.A. Fitness and a dentist's office, Rail Side looks like a cozy middle-European pub with a fetish for American train paintings. The food, however, is Italian and Mexican, in the form of pizza and towering platters of nachos, and the eight-deep selection of ales it serves are resolutely English: less carbonated, and a little warmer than Americans are used to. The IPAs and pales, especially, are less pronounced in their hops and veer toward the sweetly malty. Brewer Mike Davis' wife, Anka, graciously checks on each table with a light Polish accent as Imagine Dragons proclaims something or other to be radioactive. It is a friendly place, small-towny in its charms. The beer is unfortunately inconsistent on the brewery's tiny system, and a frothy-white wheat beer both looked and tasted like almond milk. But the stout is a hearty comfort in frosty winter weather.
Drink This: The Signalman Stout is smooth and dry, with a bit of hoppy crackle in the back.